By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minneapolis Fire Department added 19 graduates to the force on Friday.

Of those 19, 18 of them are military veterans.

From ducking enemy fire in a war zone over-seas to putting out fires in a skills demonstration, these new members are ready for action.

Four months ago, 19 cadets began the task of learning and growing together.

“This group was so tight from the beginning, we knew we had something good on our hands the first day of class,” said Cpt. J.R. Klepp. “We talked about teamwork, not leaving anyone behind, academically or physically.”

Klepp believes it had something to do with the previous training of 18 of the cadets.

All but one is a veteran, and most served in combat, like new firefighter Kenneth Glenn.

He says his training in the Army prepared him for what he went through at the fire academy.

“This training was more mental than anything,” he said. “I mean, the physical part is hard you know that, but just the academics, the amount of material we had to learn in such a short time, you had to be disciplined.”

That discipline helped the entire class reach their goal.

“Nineteen started and 19 finished,” Klepp said. “I’ve asked around, no one can come up with a single cadet class that graduated all that started.”

For these firefighters, this is just a continuance of their service.

“Now you have this opportunity to serve the people who are in your own community,” Glenn said. “Best day of my life hands down, other than my daughter being born.”

Their new lives as members of the Minneapolis Fire Department start when they move into their assigned fire houses.


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